Does the film industry need QC!
is the probability that a film garners widespread
positive public opinion? Or, what is the percentage
of films that get positive opinions? We might
not have a definitive answer, but surely know
that the percentage is very low, maybe below 10%.
It is a well known fact that out of the 100+ films
that released last year, less than 10 managed
to pull back their investment which means that
around the same number of films managed to gather
positive word of mouth which translates directly
Now, this is not a lament about the falling standards
of Tamil cinema and how even big star films fall
flat. The fact is that the 10% upper ceiling for
positive opinion exists in all film industries.
Almost 90% of the films released end up with them
being branded as ‘mokkai(s)’, or even
worse, sink without generating even a negative
opinion. Even in the Malayalam film industry,
which has the reputation of churning out good
scripts and stories, the 10% ceiling holds true.
Be it in Bollywood, Hollywood or any film industry
in the world, most films that roll out end up
side of public opinion. 90% products failing to satisfy
customers: that will be considered as a serious, almost
lethal shortcoming for any industry. But, the film industry
has managed to live with this for many years and will
continue to live on.
It is not surprising however that this happens, because
the film industry seems to have no ‘quality control’
department. World over, it is a practice in any standard
industry to have a quality control (QC) department.
Every product rolling out the industry is double checked
for quality and anything that falls below standard is
rejected, never to be released into the market. i.e.
every industry does time and again make products that
do not meet quality standards and specifications. But,
QC ensures that such products never reach the consumer,
thus maintaining customer satisfaction. It seems to
be only the film industry where any product, irrespective
of how good or bad it is, manages to find its way into
theaters leaving unfortunate audiences grumpy and unhappy.
Manufacturing of substandard products is not unusual
or unworthy in any industry. But, when an industry fails
to identify the substandard product and stop it from
reaching consumers, it is not functioning professionally.
And, to identify a substandard product, there needs
to be an independent QC department that is fully functional.
Of course, the film industry is not like any other industry.
It is filled with unpredictability and uncertainties,
is driven by the fickle taste of the audiences and there
cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
What looks good to one person need not necessarily impress
the other and vice versa; just like each of us have
our own set of favorite movies. The most important thing
however is the amount of money involved. A fully finished
film would have cost a few crores and to reject it because
it did not meet QC standards would be cruel and impractical
because there is no way of recovering the money that
So, what should the film industry do? Continue without
a QC department as it has done all these years. That
would be possible. But, one thing to keep in mind is
that for every substandard product that reaches theaters,
it is the film industry that loses credibility (especially
when the producers go all over town proclaiming their
films to be super hits). If the film industry indeed
aspires to increase consistency of the quality of its
output, a QC department is inevitable.
But, at what stage does it evaluate a film. Certainly
not after its shooting has been completed. Perhaps,
a finished script can be evaluated before being permitted
to go on floors. Who would do that? The wise men, the
grey heads in the industry – the men with a history
of high quality standards.
In fact, QC does exist in some parts of the industry.
For example, there are production houses like AVM, Madras
Talkies, S Pictures and a few others who seem to have
internal quality controls, which is why almost all films
from these stables impress us. There are also individuals
who have an intrinsic QC. There is no better example
for this other than Dr. Kamal Haasan. He chooses only
what passes his strict quality standards and we see
the results in every film that he does.
Likewise, if there were a common, independent and fully
functional QC for the industry, one thinks that it would
work wonders to the credibility of our cinema. Is this
Behindwoods is not responsible for
the views of columnists.